self-aware, connect with God, God time, youth pastor, youth ministry

FaceTime with God

By James Racine January 8, 2018

“Many leadership problems are driven by low self-awareness.” – Bill Hybels

Don’t you appreciate the friends that are able to shoot you straight? It is a rare and precious thing to find a friend who is able and willing to deliver the truth to you, in love, to help you become more self-aware.

I remember a time early in my ministry when I thought I was a great communicator. I had spent an entire week preparing a sermon for the youth group. After giving the sermon, a friend sat me down to debrief the evening. Without saying it directly, he let me know that the message was not a home run. He was able to affirm and encourage some elements of my communication style while also being honest about my message’s weaknesses. Even though my friend was addressing some potentially sensitive things, I still felt that he believed in me.

It does no one good—except maybe our ego—to continue believing in our own perception of ourselves when, in reality, we aren’t who we think we are. This false sense of self doesn’t just hurt us, it hurts everyone around us, especially when we are in leadership positions. One only needs to read the headlines of any major church scandal to realize the impact of low self-awareness in church leadership.

Galatians says, “For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself” (Galatians 6:3). As leaders, how can we lead others toward the light, if we ourselves are deceived? Jesus said, “If the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit” (Matthew 15:14). As leaders, we don’t have an option; we must grow in self-awareness if we want to effectively lead our students.

So wouldn’t it be great if we had a friend who was able to shoot us straight all of the time?

The older I get, the more I am convinced that God is this kind of friend. God is a masterful truth teller. He is able to communicate truth and love simultaneously. He is able to rebuke and exhort in the same breath. He is able to grow and prune at the same time. This is why it is so important that we as youth leaders spend face-to-face time with Him daily.

David was considered “a man after God’s own heart”, but the key to this high commendation was not simply David’s pursuit of the Lord, but rather David’s willingness to be searched by God. David says in the Psalms, “Test me, Lord, and try me, examine my heart and my mind” (Psalms 26:2). David wasn’t perfect. But he was being made perfect by allowing the perfect one to search him.

Our students don’t need leaders that are perfect, they need leaders who are being made perfect—leaders who are being transformed into the likeness of Christ (2 Corinthians 3:18). It all starts with allowing God to reveal the truth to us.

No matter what truth he exposes, you can trust that God is like a kind friend who will shoot you straight, but who will never leave you feeling devalued or discouraged.

Here are a few questions and heart-responses for you to incorporate into your next face time with God.

  1. Lord, what are some things you love about me lately? I commit to receiving the truth from you today. 
  2. Lord, in what ways have I settled for good enough, when you intended great? I repent of any ways in which I have settled. 
  3. Lord, are there any things you are calling me to be done with? I give you permission to correct me.
  4. Lord, are there messes I have contributed to that you are asking me to go clean up? Lord, humble me and give me courage to face my mistakes.
  5. Lord, who in my world do I need to give full permission to speak freely into my life? Give me the courage to have that conversation and the grace to receive their feedback. 
  6. Lord, who will you be for me in this refining process? Thank you. I could not do this without you.

Looking for a chance to get away and spend time listening to the Lord? Consider joining the LeaderTreks team for a Refuel Retreat.